Today the Supreme Court decided that your right to organize was not important. They decided that labor stability was not important. That these rights were secondary to one employee who didn’t agree with his union’s stand for better wages and benefits and didn’t want to pay his “fair-share” of the costs of representation.
The case is Janus v. AFSCME and at issue is the union ability to charge non-members who benefit from union representation the costs of that representation. Janus is an employee with the State of Illinois who claims that he doesn’t agree with his union’s views and doesn’t want a wage raise. He says he is more concerned about the State finances, then a reasonable wage for reasonable work. But, instead of donating the money he didn’t want back to the State coffers, he chose to sue his union, AFSCME. He claims that fair-share dues violate his right to free speech.
Prior to today, fair-share fees were legal and constitutional under the law, but the Supreme Court, in a rare move, overturned decades of their own precedent and ruled that State laws allowing fair-share fees to be deducted from public bargaining group employees who didn’t join the union were unconstitutional. They held that forcing a public employee to pay for union costs when they disagree with what the union says violates their constitutional right to free speech. They categorized all union activity by public sector unions as inherently political and of public concern.
But, this case is not about Janus, it is about the financial stability of unions, their ability to force employers to bargain fair wages and benefits and their ability to support political candidates that fight for the average working person. The result of this decision won’t be to protect the right to free speech, rather it will hinder the ability of employees to speak through their union.
This decision should make you mad. The people who funded this lawsuit want you to stop supporting your union, to start in-fighting with your co-workers, to lay silent.
Stand up! Support your union. Join as a member.
Talk to your co-workers to ask if they are members.
Sign up for website alerts, read emails, come to meetings.
Write your elected officials.
Tell them that you matter, that worker’s rights matter and that unions matter.
Counsel for MMA
Rollins, Martin & Button, PSC